Thursday, April 19, 2007

Clomid challenge results

So the doctor's office called yesterday and after getting back the results of my blood tests, decided that my clomid challenge did work - my body does work the way it should when on clomid. She also told me that the doctor was able to have a conversation with my Endocrinologist and together they decided that as of today, I will need to discontinue taking Avandia & Byetta. I wasn't surprised, in fact I was a little surprised that there were not more drugs on my do-not-take list. I'll double check when I go in on Monday. Either way, now I'm a bit nervous about what my body will do without these drugs.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Finally our first visit

Well, we made it into the doctor's office and, wow, everthing went so fast! First, we met with the doctor to ask and answer questions. Than, we were escorted down the hall were I had an ultrasound of my uterous and overies and my husband was asked to give a "sample."

We met with the billing nurse and found out that our isurance doesn't really pay for 1/2 of our treatments, only "diagnoses" procedures preformed on our first visit - go figure.

We left with the knowledge that the next step is to do a clomid challenge to see how my body reacts to the fertility drug, clomid. If the clomid works for me (and doesn't work too well), we will try am insemination cycle.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

New Reproductive Endocrinologist

Well, tomorrow I go see the fertility specialist for the first time. This is like the 4th appointment I've had, one was canceled by me because my husband couldn't make it, the rest were canceled by the doctor's office because the doctor was going to be "in surgery".

I'm kind of nervous about the visit, what he's going to say, the procedures he's going to suggest, how much they are going to cost, and how my husband will react. Three years ago, I visited another fertility doctor in the same office but I didn't like her, and we decided we were not ready to put in the money just yet - still too much debt.

I hope my ObGyn finally forwards my HSG report to the new doc before my appointment tomorrow morning. I've asked them to send it 3 times. They may have sent it the last time but if they did, they never told me. We'll see if anyone calls me back.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

So, I got an Hysterosalpingogram (HSG)

My ObGyn asked me to go get an HSG saying that it is used to show tubal blockage to see if that might be why I haven't gotten pregnant yet. The nurse described the process to me saying that a small catheter is placed into the cervix and the dye is injected. She told me that I would probably feel heavy cramping during, and for several hours following the procedure and that I should take an anti-inflammatory medication like Aleve or Motrin before my procedure. Ok, so I'm nervous. I typically have a fairly high pain tolerance, but it sounds bad and one likes pain.

Once my insurance OKed the HSG, I had to find out how much the HSG was going to cost me. To do this, I first called the Imaging Center and asked for the procedure code(s) for the HSG. I was given two, one for the dye insertion and one for the x-rays. I then called the Imaging Center's billing department, gave them my insurance company's name, and requested the negotiated rates for the procedure codes I have gotten from the Imaging Center. The total came to $268 and I know my insurance will pay for half of this procedure. I only hope that I was given the correct information because it sounds too low.

I then called the Imaging Center to make an appointment. The staff told me that the study is done between day 7 and 11 of your cycle, so I would need to call back to make an appointment on the first day of my next cycle and they would squeeze me in. I decided to wait until February because my insurance only pays half of the cost of this procedure and my husband and I wanted to be able to budget for it. Then, she asked me if I had my prescription for antibiotics. Um, no clue what you are talking about.

I called my ObGyn's office back and asked if they could call in a prescription to my pharmacy for my HSG. The Imaging Center told me I would need to take antibiotics twice a day for 5 days - two days prior to my procedure, the day of, and then two days after.

My period started on a Saturday. I called to schedule an appointment, but the scheduling department was closed on Saturday. I called back on Monday hoping that they would still be able to squeeze me in. We were able to schedule an appointment, no problem. I chose an appointment at 3:30 in the afternoon so as to interfere less with my work day.

The day of my appointment, I drove to my appointment and, as I got out of my car, I took an anti-inflammatory pills. I knew I would be waiting for a while in the waiting room, so the anti-inflammatory would have time to take effect. Though I have a fairly high pain tolerance, but I was still nervous about the cramps and the pain that the nurse had told me to expect.

I was escorted from the waiting room to a changing room where I was instructed to remove everything from the waist down, slip into a sweet paper skirt, and then enter the x-ray room. Once in the x-ray room, the technician explained everything to me telling me that that a speculum is inserted just as if I were having a pap test. Then, a small catheter is placed into the cervix and the dye is injected into the uterus. She explained that the uterus doesn't like to have liquid forced into it, so I may cramp a little. OK, may cramp is better than will cramp for hours.

So I lay down on the table and the technician took several comparison x-rays. After a while, a doctor came in. With the technician in the room, the doctor inserted the speculum, then the catheter, which pinched a bit. Injecting the dye caused a small amount of cramping, certainly not as bad as I was afraid it would be. The technician continued to take x-rays as the dye traveled into the fallopian tubes.

Once the doctor felt he had enough pictures, he removed the catheter and speculum, told me my ObGyn would have the results today, and left the room. The technician helped me get off the table and I went into the restroom to clean up a bit and put on my underwear. She also gave me a pad to keep my underwear clean. I then returned to the x-ray room again for follow up pictures.

When all the pictures were taken, the technician told me that some dye will escape during the day and that the dye that remains will be absorbed without any ill effect. She also said that sometimes forcing dye through the fallopian tubes will clear any material blocking it. And that a number of women have become pregnant following a hysterosalpingogram without further treatment so to go ahead and try over the next three days or so.

On the way home, I called my ObGyn requesting that they forward the HSG report to the fertility specialist they had referred me to.

A few days later, my ObGyn's office called to tell me that though they did not have all the results yet, it looked as if everything was normal.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Pelvic Ultrasound

On Jan 19 I got a pelvic ultrasound. A pelvic ultrasound uses sound waves to make a picture of the organs and structures in the lower belly specifically the uterus, and ovaries. So much fun! The last one I had was about a year ago but my OBGYN said that it was too old and I needed a newer one. Before you get a pelvic ultrasound, they ask you to drink 32 oz of water one hour before your appointment time. I guess a full bladder makes it easier to see the uterus and ovaries. For those of us that are not math whizzes, that's 4 cups of water that you have to drink and then hold! I got to my appointment a little early only to find construction had taken out at least half of the available parking. The only place I could find to park was in a parking structure where you need to pay for parking - not something I was counting on, but luckily, I had just found $2 in the pocket of my jacket. I read the sign on the way in and figured I'd have enough money to park for 1 hour. That should be long enough, right?

Getting to the imaging center just a couple minutes after my appointment time, I signed in and filled out my paperwork. Lucy who worked behind the counter at the imaging center noted that my doctor's orders had not yet been faxed to the imaging center. So Lucy called the doctor's office and after 15 minutes on hold, the wrong order was faxed over. Lucy asked me if maybe I was mistaken and I needed to have made an appointment for an HSG (more on that in later posts). I told her no, that the HSG was for February. Lucy called me up to the window and said that she had called the doctor's office back and they had insisted that the doctor didn't need me to have pelvic ultrasound, but I could still get one if I wanted one. I told Lucy that my doctor had asked me to get a pelvic ultrasound, even giving me the number to call to schedule it and that I had no interest in getting one if it wasn't required.

After many more minutes of Lucy arguing on the phone with the doctors office, the correct order was finally faxed over. Now, it has been at least an two hours since I drank 4 cups of water and my bladder is about ready to burst. I had been standing in the waiting room reading old magazines because there were no new magazines and because I could not sit after drinking so much water.

The actual pelvic ultrasound was rather uneventful except for the painfully bulging bladder. You lay face up on a table and the ultrasound technician puts some conductive gel on the skin over your lower stomach. Then the technician presses the ultrasound wand against the gel thereby squashing your overfull bladder and enabling sound waves to make a picture of the uterus and ovaries that can be viewed on a monitor, printed, and/or recorded on a tape or disk. All this to find I still have cystic ovaries - imagine that. Anyway, by the time I got out of the imaging center, it had been several hours. I asked Lucy if they could validate my parking ticket. The answer was no, but she gave me a gift certificate for one pound of See's Candy as the customer of the week for my patience. Cool!

Finally, I was able to pull my car up to the pay booth for the parking structure and hand the man in the booth my parking ticket. He told me that I owed him $4, remember I only have $2 that I found in my jacket packet the day before. I handed him my two dollar bills and told him that this was all I had. He let me go, telling me I owed him $2 next time.

Hi, I'm HD.

Hi, I'm HD. I am a 36 year old married woman with a PCOS, or Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, a health problem where the woman’s hormone (endocrine) system is out of balance. I was diagnosed with PCOS when I was 16 years old after many visits to many different doctors. My symptoms were facial hair due to high levels of male hormones (the boys were jealous of my mustache, so teased me much and often), and irregular, painful periods. Most doctors told me just to shave and that there was nothing wrong with me. Finally, an endocrinologist did a pelvic ultrasound and found lots of cysts in my ovaries. He put me on birth control pills which helped with my periods. I also had electrolysis for my mustache.

As I got older, my symptoms grew to include hair loss, acne, skin tags, high cholesterol, and weight gain. I eventually found an Endocrinologist who was very helpful, listening to my issues; she eventually took me off of the birth control pills and put me on several other drugs usually used for diabetes. She also diagnosed me with Hashimoto's disease, an autoimmune thyroid disease in which the immune system attacks and destroys the thyroid gland. Once I started taking the new drugs, my hair stopped falling out, the acne is almost completely gone, I lost the extra weight, and my cholesterol is back where it should be. When I turned 33, my husband and I decided to stop using any kind of birth control. Infertility is defined in specific terms as the failure to conceive after a year of regular intercourse without contraception, so I guess infertility is now another of my PCOS symptoms. At 36 years old, we are at the now-or-never point in my life as it pertains to infertility. We’ve waited as long as we have because of some outstanding debt that we have tamed but not yet killed. This is the story of our struggle to have a child without incurring any more debt.